University of Vermont

Vermont Quarterly

Severe Studies? No Problem

The first two phi beta kappa keys given to women at UVM
Photograph by Sally McCay


Severe Studies? No Problem

FAVORITE THINGS |  Artifacts of a shining first in UVM history, the Phi Beta Kappa keys awarded to alumnae Ellen Hamilton and Lida Mason are part of the University Archives collection. In 1875, Hamilton and Mason became the first women to graduate from UVM and the first women in the nation admitted to the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society. Matthew Buckham, UVM president during that era, noted that the pioneering pair “addressed themselves to their work with great zeal” and showed “themselves quite capable of meeting the demands of severe studies as successfully as their classmates of the other sex.”  

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